Clapper breaks down problems facing world in King Center speach


Ailish NicPhaidin, Gen. James Clapper and Susie DeBusk participated in the Indialantic Rotary Club event at the King Center.

VIERA VOICE Darrell Woehler


For those lucky enough to be at the King Center on Jan. 17, Gen. James Clapper, who now calls himself “Retired Geezer,” mesmerized the audience with his version of Around the World in 80 Minutes.

Six main topics were covered — North Korea, Iran, China, Russia, the environment and disease. Clapper’s visit was sponsored by the Indialantic Rotary Club and Susie DeBusk. It was hosted by Ailish NicPhaidin. The major sponsor was Harris Corporation.

Gen. Clapper said North Korea and its nuclear threat is not going away, and “it’s foolish to think that they will denuclearize.” Diplomacy must rule the day.

On Iran, he said that they are in basic compliance with the latest treaty, but the Middle East area could explode at any time.  He quoted Tom Friedman of the New York Times that “this area is too expensive to fix and too important to ignore.”

China’s business growth of 10 percent a year could make it the top world threat within three years, according to Clapper. Clapper also said that Russia is the No. 1 adversary to the United States with its cyber attacks and fake news planting. But, with its declining population and corruption, Russia’s internal problems might make it less of a problem in the future.

The environment and disease also were covered under Bio-Tech, including gene manipulation, greenhouse gases, air pollution, microbes and drug resistant infections.  Africa also was mentioned as a major potential trouble spot.

Clapper, a former intelligence officer, served  under every president dating back to John F. Kennedy before ending his government service in January 2016 when President Donald Trump was inaugurated. At the time, Clapper was the Director of National Intelligence.

Clapper said it was his duty to encourage students to seek government jobs after graduating from college.

Before his talk, Clapper presented an Economic Development Scholarship to Kim Bernard of Eastern Florida State College. The Indialantic Rotary Club also honored him with the Paul Harris Fellow Rotary Award. 

Photo Gallery from the event: